Friday, June 22, 2012

An international Sunday school lesson commentary
For Sunday June 24, 2012

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(A humble and loving heart practices justice)
(Deuteronomy 10:12-22 & 16:18-20)

In Deuteronomy chapter 10 Moses tells us that the LORD once again wrote down HIS Ten Commandments, this time, on a fresh new set of stone tablets that he himself had hewn. Most scholars believe that this was a symbol of how GOD would re-write HIS Law on the hearts of men, through the first advent of CHRIST JESUS, WHOSE body would be broken in order to nullify the effects of sin and death on the world, for those who believe. GOD gives man a second chance through CHRIST.
The “Ark of the Covenant” (v. 2) symbolizes CHRIST, the only place in WHOM the commandments of GOD could be kept (Colossians 2:9). The words this time were exactly the same as the first, which serve to signify the “immutability” of GOD (GOD is unchanging). The message in this passage (Vs. 1-5) is that “In” and “Through” JESUS, GOD restores to HIMSELF, just exactly what HE originally intended man to do, and that is, “to be the keeper of HIS Covenant”.
Those of us who really love GOD express it in our actions and behavior. We make a great effort to walk only in HIS Will, and, in HIS Ways, at all times. And just as GOD’s actions reveal to us, HIS faithfulness, compassion, and commitment to us, so too, our actions must reveal to HIM, our loyalty and obedience to HIS Word.
Beginning in verse 12 of this chapter, we see Moses giving Israel a call to be loving to each other, and obedient to GOD. Here he tells the Israelites exactly what GOD requires of each of them, and that is that they fear GOD, live according to HIS Will, love and worship HIM with all their heart and soul, and, last but not least, obey HIS commands and laws, and they should do these things, for their own good.
In verse 16 the Hebrew word “muwl” (mool) is used for “circumcision” and it means to “cut short, curtail, or cut back to such a degree that, that which is unwanted, is destroyed as a result”. Here Moses recommends to the people that they “circumcise the foreskin of their hearts” to the point that it is cleansed from all sinfulness. He also suggests that they put away their stubbornness, which oftentimes, prevents GOD’s people from being obedient, because stubbornness is oftentimes rooted in pride. Those who have circumcised hearts can be identified by their love for GOD, and, for their fellowman.
In the Old Testament the “orphans” and the “widows” are often grouped with the “alien” because, invariably, they all fall to the bottom of the social totem pole of society as being powerless. They are usually poor and weak with no one to care for them, and protect them from harm. In verses 17-18, and, throughout all of scripture, GOD always places a special emphasis on the attitude that GODly people should have toward these segments of society, within the Christian community. A lack of concern for people in these groups is a sure sign of a morally corrupt society. It was Peter C. Craigie who wrote, “When people cease to care, then, religion, morality, social customs and values, all cease to function as “mortar” that hold together a society, and maintain ancient faith”.
In verses 20-22, Moses further encourages the people reminding them of the great and awesome wonders of GOD, and why they should therefore serve, fear, adhere to, hold fast to, and give praises to the almighty GOD. And he also reminded them of how GOD had already started to make good on HIS promise to Abraham, as HE had increased their numbers greatly from the 70 or so individuals who first entered into the land of Egypt, to the now countless number that stood ready to enter into the “Promised Land” of Canaan.
In Deuteronomy 16:18-20 we see Moses instructing the Israelites to set up a “true justice system” that is ran by men who are full of GODly character, respect, and honor. They were to appoint such judges and officials from each of the twelve tribes of Israel. These judges were to determine justice based on what the accused did, not on who they were, who they know, or, who they were related to. They were also not to favor their friends by acquitting the guilty, or by tampering with the legal process that GOD had already put in place, through HIS Word. They were to never accept a bribe, but rather, were to let justice prevail at all times. It was an idea that was apparently lost before very long because history tells us that GOD, once again, had to throw HIS chosen people into captivity in Syria, and in Babylon, because they became corrupt and started to ignore GOD altogether. And they went on to prove what GOD has known all along, and that is, without HIM, man can’t do anything right, for too long.

A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander

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